CIA freezes out top Flynn aide
Kenneth Vogel, Josh Dawsey, Politico, Feb 20 2017
A top deputy to General Flynn was rejected for SCI clearance, effectively ending his tenure on the NSC and escalating tensions between Flynn and the CIA. The move came as Flynn’s already tense relationships with others in the Trump administration and the intelligence community were growing more fraught after reports that Flynn had breached diplomatic protocols in his conversations with the Russian ambassador to Pindostan. On Friday, one of Flynn’s closest deputies on the NSC, senior director for Africa Robin Townley, was informed that the CIA had rejected his request for SCI clearance required for service on the NSC, according to two people with direct knowledge of the situation. That forced Townley, a former Marine intelligence officer who had long maintained a TS clearance, out of his NSC post, explained the sources. One of the sources said the rejection was approved by DCI Pompeo and that it infuriated Flynn and his allies. Both sources said the CIA did not offer much explanation for why Townley’s request was rejected. But the sources said that Flynn and his allies believe it was motivated by Townley’s skepticism of their techniques, sentiments shared by Flynn. One source argued that some in the intelligence community feel threatened by Flynn and his allies, saying:
They believe this is a hit job from inside the CIA on Flynn and the people close to him. Townley believes that the CIA doesn’t run the world.
Adam Schiff, the top Demagog on the House intelligence committee, dismissed as “baloney” any suggestion that the clearance was denied because the intelligence community was trying to brush back Flynn. Schiff said:
Trump and Flynn see treachery everywhere they go. If a security clearance is denied, it’s for a reason. Intelligence agencies tend to be careful in rejecting security clearances because they know they’re going to have to justify it.
One person close to Trump said that within the White House, Flynn is regarded by some as waging “a Jihad against the intelligence community.” This person said Flynn is blamed by some people around Trump for trying to turn the new president against the intelligence community during the campaign and transition period, when Trump was openly skeptical about Pindosi so-called ‘intelligence findings’ that Russia meddled in the election to try to help his campaign and damage that of Hillary Clinton. Flynn’s own ties to Russia also have come under scrutiny. Trump’s critics cited Flynn’s paid speech in Russia and dinner with Putin in 2015 as evidence of ties between the Kremlin and Trump’s inner circle. And the FBI has been looking into Flynn’s December communications with Russia’s ambassador to Pindostan, Sergei Kislyak. Flynn had maintained that those communications did not include discussion of Pindosi sanctions levied against Russia for supposedly hacking into Demagog electronic communications during the 2016 presidential race. But the WaPo on Thursday reported that sanctions were in fact discussed, citing nine top current and former officials at multiple agencies. Demagogs on Friday seized on the report, calling for Flynn to be suspended and pleading with Republicans to investigate him. Elijah Cummings, the top Demagog on the House oversight committee, said he had “grave questions” about Flynn’s honesty, and whether other White House officials were aware of his communications with Kislyak. Inside the Trump administration, the ranks of Flynn’s critics seem to be growing and becoming emboldened. A White House official said there had been concerns about Flynn’s calls to the Russian ambassador, which weren’t known by all of Trump’s top advisers and aides. The official said Flynn is not particularly close to Sec State Rex Tillerson or Sec Def ‘Mad Dog’ Mattis. Someone close to Trump said:
A lot of people are gunning for Flynn, but I think the president likes him. The president thinks he’s loyal and has expertise. Among others, there’s this perception he is wild, outside the box, not suited for the office.
A senior Trump official played down the idea that Flynn may be in danger, saying he remained in contact with top Trump officials and Cabinet secretaries. Trump, in a Friday afternoon gaggle aboard Air Force One, said he was unaware of the report that Flynn had discussed the sanctions with the Russian ambassador but said he would “look into that.”